Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

We recently shared a story about how robots can alleviate loneliness much like a pet. It turns out that robotics can replicate other great things canines do. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing a machine that can emulate a dog’s acute sense of smell. 

After years of development, the researchers successfully trained a robot to replicate a dog’s sense of smell by using a machine learning algorithm. The machine was able to successfully identify tiny traces of molecules with sensitivity 200 times more than that of a dog’s nose but fell short when it came to identifying what the scents were. 

Now, the scientists are working with a more precise algorithm and 50 urine samples, taken from prostate cancer patients as well as cancer-free patients, to teach the machine to differentiate between sick and healthy individuals. So far, the machine has achieved a prostate cancer recognition accuracy of 70 percent. Moving forwards, the team hopes to perfect the technology and make it accessible in a small, handheld format for use in medical settings. If successful, the machine could offer the health and safety resources of highly trained dogs in a simple device. 

Dogs have been used for years to sniff out contraband and potential weapons. More recently, their skills have been deployed to protect wildlife and even slow the spread of Covid-19. There will likely always be a place for these service dogs, but making their skills available in a machine would make detection technology far more widely available and even expand it to new potential applications.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas represent a successful conservation story

Following years of poaching and habitat destruction, the population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda once numbered under 260 individuals. Now, Rwandan gorillas represent a rare conservation success and a key economic engine for the East ... Read More

Germany plans to put 15 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030

Making electric cars the dominant vehicles on the road is key to curbing planet-warming emissions and protecting the climate. In a bid to reach that goal, an increasing number of countries and cities across the ... Read More

Here are 5 Indigenous-led eco-charities you can support today

The climate crisis has caused us to reconsider our consumerist lifestyles and turn to Indigenous peoples to learn from their superior understanding of living in harmony with nature. Here is a list of five organizations ... Read More

Scientists discover a peculiar new planet

Deep into the Hercules constellation, 855 light-years away from Earth, lies a record breaking exoplanet. This newly discovered gas giant was named TOI-2109b, and the thing that makes it so special is the fact it ... Read More

High altitude experiment shows that snow monkeys are excellent at fishing

Snow monkeys, also known as the Japanese macaque, are native to many of the main islands of Japan. These fluffy creatures are the most northern-based non-human primate out there, meaning they have some cold temperatures ... Read More